PhD Candidate

PhD Candidate

Published Deadline Location
29 Mar 26 Apr Heerlen

You cannot apply for this job anymore (deadline was 26 Apr 2023).

Browse the current job offers or choose an item in the top navigation above.

Job description

The PhD position is in the field of theoretical computer science, in the context of improving software quality and automated verification techniques. The goal is to make automata learning more modular.

Automata learning is a technique for improving software quality by smarter testing. It tests systems thoroughly, while at the same time constructing understandable models of the system. Such models can be analysed mathematically to ensure correctness. This has already found numerous software bugs in software we use for our daily communication.

Nevertheless, the learning techniques are still in their infancy, as they are laborious to apply and do not scale to bigger systems. The research project will improve automata learning by leveraging modularity. This makes the approach align with current software engineering practices and makes it more applicable to real-world situations.

As a PhD candidate you will work on automata learning algorithms. The aim is to find better and more general algorithms so that they can be applied to more systems. In order to develop these generalisations, I think we should look at abstract theory from coalgebras and category theory. So, the research you will conduct may be theoretically oriented. Alternatively, you may enjoy a more practical approach and apply automata learning algorithms. The research project provides enough room and flexibility for people with a theoretical background, as well as a more applied background.


The Open Universiteit (OU)


  • An MSc degree, preferably in computer science, mathematics or a closely related field.
  • The candidate has good academic writing with a strong command of English, both in speaking and writing.
  • Knowledge of the Dutch language is an advantage, but not required.

Applicants must be strongly motivated for doctoral studies, possess the ability to work independently and perform critical analysis and also possess good levels of cooperative and communicative abilities.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: position for 4 years.

The salary is determined in accordance with salary scale P of Appendix A of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities and amounts to € 2.541,= gross per month upon commencement, in case of full employment.

The PhD candidate will be appointed for a period of 15 months. The appointment will be extended to 4 years when progress and performance are good.

The Open Universiteit provides good secondary benefits such as training, mobility, part-time employment, hybrid work and paid parental leave


The Open Universiteit

Flexible studying anywhere in the Netherlands and (Belgium) Flanders
The Open Universiteit is the part-time university in the Netherlands. Students follow personalised and activating academic distance education and disciplinary research is carried out within the various fields of science. Students can complete bachelor and master programmes, but also shorter programmes. The characteristics of education are openness, flexibility and quality (see The Open Universiteit has over 17,000 students and more than 750 employees. The OU has branches in the Netherlands and Belgium (see The main office is located in Heerlen.

The latest technologies and educational insights are applied both in the bachelor's and master's programmes and courses and in projects and programmes with partners. Nationally and internationally, the OU plays an important role in the innovation of higher education. Education is interwoven with research, which also ensures that the current state of science is incorporated. The Open Universiteit invests not only in disciplinary research in nine scientific fields, but also in research in a multidisciplinary programme: Innovating for resilience.


Faculty of Science

The faculty of Science is one of the six faculties of the Open Universiteit. Education, research and valorisation are the main tasks. The faculty offers academic bachelor and master programmes in the fields of Computer Science, Information Science, Environmental Sciences, and an Artificial Intelligence master programme is currently under development. The faculty’s research programme focuses on Innovating for Resilience. Furthermore, the faculty is partner in the Community for Actionable Research of the OU (CAROU). The faculty has Ph.D.-students who conduct research on various current topics within the research programme. As a result of the interdisciplinary focus on education and research, as well as the close link with practice, work at our faculty provides many innovative and challenging opportunities for entrepreneurial researchers.

Department of Computer Science
The Department of Computer Science is an enthusiastic and ambitious group of approximately 40 people (33 fte) focussing on artificial intelligence, educational and learning technology, software quality, and security and privacy issues. The group contributes to these challenges through excellent research and online teaching programmes, covering a large diversity of topics, e.g. deep learning applications in industry, intelligent tutoring systems, privacy-aware technologies, reinforcement learning, e-health applications, Bayesian networks, cyber-security, automated software testing, and responsible AI. The department’s research lines are presented in the research strategy “Towards high quality and intelligent software” for 2020-2025. The online academic educational programmes of this Department have received the highest accolades in the country in this domain for years.


  • PhD; Education
  • Engineering
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • AC/FAC/BW/23040


The Open Universiteit (OU)

Learn more about this employer


Postbus 2960, 6401 DL, Heerlen

View on Google Maps

Interesting for you